Aidan O'Brien can win Breeders' Cup with Declaration of War
Published 02/11/2013 | 01:30
He may argue otherwise, but trainer Aidan O'Brien can once again dare to dream about winning the Breeders' Cup Classic.
The closest the Ballydoyle handler came to landing one of the most sought-after races in the world was when Giant's Causeway painfully lost out to Tiznow by a neck in 2000.
But in Declaration Of War, O'Brien has one of his strongest contenders for quite some time.
The four-year-old colt has long been considered an ideal type for the Santa Anita dirt and will go to post in America a horse at the top of his game.
Declaration Of War demonstrated his aptitude for this mile-and-a-quarter trip on his last outing at York in August, when he charged clear in the Juddmonte International. Now comes his sternest test to date.
O'Brien said: "I don't even dream or think about it (winning the Classic), because there are so many things to consider.
"You have to keep doing your best and try to make the right decisions. This is so far from being an exact science and all I know is that his condition is very good going into this race.
"He's a big, strong traveller and a powerful horse who loves fast ground. There's plenty of dirt in his pedigree.
"We've tried to replicate things he could encounter. He's worked out of American stalls and he was in Southwell a couple of weeks ago.
"In our part of the world, Southwell is as close to the dirt as we can get. All that seemed to go well.
"We've done our best and we'll see if that's good enough when he runs."
British interest tonight is spiked by the presence of Planteur, trained in Newmarket by Marco Botti.
Ryan Moore's partner, who will wear a first-time hood, is a seasoned traveller, but must atone for a disappointing run in the Prix Dollar on Arc weekend.
Lucie Botti, wife of the Italian-born trainer, said: "I am very happy with Planteur. He has done well out here."
Fort Larned has been rather in and out since he won the Classic last year, but geared up for this with a success at Churchill Downs in September.